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Brazil Sues Samsung over Poor Working Conditions

Aug. 14, 2013
The Ministry of Labor said employees at the factory worked up to 15 hours a day, including 10 hours on their feet, and sometimes for 27 days straight.

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil has filed a lawsuit against Samsung (IW 1000/14) alleging poor working conditions at a factory in the Amazon and is demanding more than $100 million in damages, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Labor said employees at the factory worked up to 15 hours a day, including 10 hours on their feet, and sometimes for 27 days straight.

The audit was performed at the Manaus plant, one of the largest of Samsung's 25 factories worldwide. The facility employs 6,000 workers and supplies all of Latin America.

The South Korean electronic giant "subjects its employees to the risk of illness from repetitive activity and the intense pace of work on the assembly line," the labor ministry said.

According to a report on the website of the Tribuna Hoje newspaper, individual workers at the plant are given just six seconds to place a phone with its battery, charger, earphones and instruction manual in its packaging. Individual workers can repeat this process up to 6,800 times a shift.

The newspaper report said workers were given 4.8 seconds to place a television in its cardboard packaging while the assembly of a smartphone - involving dozens of workers on a production line - was clocked at 85 seconds.

Samsung said in a statement the company was reviewing the allegations.

"We are conducting a thorough review of the complaint, and promise to fully cooperate with the Brazilian authorities," the company said.

"We take great care to provide a workplace environment that assures the highest industry standards of health, safety and welfare for our employees across the world."

The government is seeking 250 million reals (US $108 million) in "collective moral damages." Samsung already faces some 1,200 legal complaints by workers at Manaus.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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